As we move towards planting a new church on Sunday nights for Wahroonga and the neighbouring communities, we do so mindful that we are dependant on God for all that is ahead of us. Given that, what should we be praying?
Our next series of blogs are designed to lay at the foundation of this new church a wholehearted commitment to pray and to pray according to God's will. The next 6 blogs will unpack Ephesians 3.14-21 and outline 6 aspects of being a church that prays God's will.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father,
15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you
with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us,
21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
6 - Praying God's will means prayer that knows why we gather as a church
Finally, we are reminded of why it is we exist as a church.
Verse 21: to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Did you catch it? To him be glory… in the church… and in Christ Jesus
We tend to know the last bit of verse 21 – that God is glorified in Christ. That makes sense to us
Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection all bring glory to God…
But see how Paul adds the the earthly group of God’s family in church equally as an arena for God’s glory because the church is the bride of Christ.
As we gather every Sunday night, with very ordinary plans for a very ordinary church service consisting of very ordinary people, we need to remember that this is how God is glorified. God is glorified through the church.
When two types of people who are radically different on their come together in Christ as brother and sister – God is gloried
When God’s word is read and taught – God is gloried
When you invite a friend and they hear the Gospel for the first time – God is glorified
When you use your gifts and talents and strength to humbly put others before yourselves and serve them – God is glorified.
When God, who is rich in mercy meets a sinner – who was by nature an object of God’s wrath, and makes them alive in Christ – and save them by grace – God is glorified.
When we pray – and express our dependence on God – for the needs of the world, the needs of our city, the needs of our suburb, the needs of our church – God is gloried.
When a group of Christians – gather to take a stand in this city. Against sin, the world, the flesh and the devil. And say we will not continue down the tunnel of ignorance and darkness like the masses that surround us. Instead we will light a beacon of hope and truth and love on Sunday nights at 6pm in this building… God is gloried.
We must pray that in all that we do, say, think, in all that we exist in and are that we as his children and representatives on earth glorify our heavenly Father.
6b - Praying God's will means prayer that knows God is bigger than our prayers
We finish where we began, we’re reminded once again of God’s greatness compared to our small ness.
For in verse 20 we see that God’s capacity to work far exceeds our capacity to ask… or even imagine.
God is not limited to what we ask him to do. What a terrible world this world be if God only did what we prayed for!
He is the one who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
So as we gather as a church pray, to pray God’s will, we do so trying to imagine what God can do through us. But God can do immensely more.
So we trust in him. We rest our plans and our endeavours and hopes in him.
The one who is more loving, stronger and wiser than us.
To him be glory throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.